HCPL’S Jennifer Ralston Serves On 2016 Caldecott Medal Committee

2016 Caldecott Winner - "Finding Winnie:  The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear"
2016 Caldecott Winner – “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear”


Jennifer Ralston, materials management administrator for Harford  County Public Library, served as a member of the prestigious 2016 Caldecott Medal Committee.

The Caldecott Medal is presented annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association) to an illustrator for “the most distinguished American picture book for children.” In 2016, it was presented to “Finding Winnie:  The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear.” The book was illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick and is about the friendship and love shared between a soldier and the bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh.

The 2016 Caldecott Honor Books were “Waiting,” written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes; “Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Matt de la Pena; “Trombone Shorty,” illustrated by Brian Collier and written by Troy “Shorty” Andrews;  and “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer:  The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” illustrated by Euka Holmes and written by Carole Boston Weatherford.

As a member of the Caldecott Committee, Ralston and the 14 other committee members read hundreds of picture books for children from ages birth to 14. Each committee member nominated seven books. The winner was chosen by the Caldecott Committee at the mid-winter American Library Association Conference.

This year marks the second time Ralston served as a member of the Caldecott Medal Committee. In 2000 she was a member of the committee when the medal was awarded to “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat” by Simms Taback.

“We at Harford County Public Library are so proud of Jennifer for being part of the 2016 Caldecott Medal Committee,” said Mary Hastler, CEO of Harford County Public Library. “Serving on the Caldecott Committee is a tremendous honor, and Jennifer has done it twice. We are fortunate to have her part of our team in Harford County.”

Ralston, a Havre de Grace resident, has worked at Harford County Public Library for 25 years. As materials management administrator, Ralston oversees the two departments that purchase, catalog and process materials customers use in the library, including books, DVDs, CDs, digital media, LSC toys and more. Prior to joining Harford County Public Library, Ralston was the lower school librarian at The Tome School in North East.

She is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA). She served on the board of directors of the organization’s Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) from 2009-12; the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee in 2008 and the Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, from 2002-06.

Ralston is also a member of the Young Adult Library Services Association, the  teen division of ALA, and a member of Public Library Association, another division of ALA. She also reviewed for School Library Journal for 10 years.

In addition to the Caldecott Medal Committee, Ralston served on the Newbery Medal Committee in 2007 that honored “The Higher Power of Lucky” by Susan Patron. In 2002, she was part of the Batchelder Committee that honored Karin Gundisch’s “How I Became an American.”

Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County.  The library serves more than 181,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 3.8 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading in the community. For more information, visit hcplonline.org.

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